They criticize the safety of the submersible that imploded at the bottom of the Atlantic

The families of the five passengers on the submersible that imploded at the bottom of the Atlantic near the wreckage of the Titanic were in mourning yesterday, as criticism mounted over possible safety negligence.

James Cameron, director of the movie Titanic and a passionate explorer of the seabed, on Thursday accused the expedition’s organizing company, OceanGate Expeditions, of “ignoring” safety warnings.

But according to Guillermo Söhnlein, co-founder of the company along with the American Stockton Rush, who died in the accident, the latter “was extremely committed to safety,” he said in statements on Friday to the British station Times Radio.

“Mitigating risk was a key part of the company culture,” said Söhnlein, born in Argentina, who left the company in 2013. He also recalled that Cameron himself had visited the wreck many times to produce his 1997 film, an international success.

Relatives of two of the victims, businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son Suleman, 19, a dual British-Pakistani national, expressed their “deep sorrow.” Both were part of the family that founded one of Pakistan’s most successful industrial empires.

For its part, the family of businessman and aviation magnate Hamish Harding, 58, another of the deceased, paid tribute to a “passionate explorer”, as well as a “husband who loves his wife and father dedicated to his two children”.

The US Coast Guard and OceanGate Expeditions announced Thursday that passengers on the submersible lost since Sunday had died in the ship’s “catastrophic implosion.”

In addition to Shahzada Dawood and her son, Hamish Harding and the American Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, the expert French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, nicknamed “Mr. Titanic”.

“We estimate that our boss Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and her son Suleman, Hamish Harding and Paul-Henri Nargeolet are unfortunately dead,” OceanGate lamented in a statement, after four days of searching that captivated the world.

The “wreckage field” found by search robots near the mythical Titanic, almost 4,000 meters deep, “is consistent with an implosion” of the submersible, announced US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger.

He also said the cause of the accident was a “catastrophic loss of pressure” in the ship, during a press conference in Boston.

As soon as the outcome was known, the Wall Street Journal revealed on Thursday that the United States Navy had detected on Sunday, shortly after the loss of contact with the ship, a signal that indicated the probable implosion of the submersible.

True explorers. “These men were true explorers who shared a strong spirit of adventure and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” he said in an OceanGate statement, mourning the deaths of the crew.

US Rear Admiral Mauger offered his “sincere condolences” to the families of the missing.

From the United Kingdom, the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, regretted the “tragic news” on Twitter and expressed his “support” for the families and his “deep condolences” on behalf of the government. The United States and Canada deployed large resources until Thursday morning, including C-130, P3 aircraft and ships equipped with underwater robots, to continue the search off their coasts, where the Polar Prince, the mother ship of the tourism submersible, was located. .

The search area on the surface extended for more than 20 thousand km2.

The 6.5-meter Titan ship submerged on Sunday but lost communication less than two hours after the tourist dive began. She had a theoretical autonomy of 96 hours of oxygen.

In the midst of the searches during the week, information emerged that compromised OceanGate about possible technical negligence of the submersible.

A civil lawsuit in the United States in 2018 shows that a former executive of the company, David Lochridge, was fired after expressing serious doubts about the safety of the Titan.

OceanGate, which built and operated the submersible and charged $250,000 per seat, took tourists to the wreck of the Titanic, whose sinking killed nearly 1,500 people in one of the greatest maritime catastrophes in history.

After the tragedy, the Titanic International organization, which ensures to preserve the history of the mythical ocean liner, called for an end to tourist expeditions. “It is time to seriously consider whether human travel to the Titanic wreck should end in the name of safety,” he said in a Facebook post, advocating for “autonomous underwater vehicles”.

Its remains, almost 600 kilometers from the mainland, have become since they were discovered in 1985 a place of dreams for adventurers and rich intrepid tourists.

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